Keep res­cue he­li­copter where it is

The New Zealand Herald - - Editorial & Letters -

Kick­ing the he­li­copter and other res­cue ser­vices out of Me­chan­ics Bay is ut­terly dis­grace­ful and a trav­esty that should not be al­lowed to hap­pen. Once again the port com­pany board are thumb­ing their noses at the peo­ple of Auck­land and the port’s 100 per cent own­ers, the Auck­land Coun­cil. The res­cue and other fa­cil­i­ties are ide­ally lo­cated with close prox­im­ity to the hos­pi­tal, the gulf and other ser­vices. Ports [of Auck­land] was given the cen­tre’s land even though it was never needed for port op­er­a­tions. The an­swer is blind­ingly sim­ple. The coun­cil should im­me­di­ately strip the land hold­ings out of the com­pany and lease them back to it at mar­ket rate mi­nus the res­cue cen­tre area. Then the right thing would hap­pen. Doug Arm­strong, Glen­dowie.

Whi­tianga worse off

Front-line emer­gency ser­vices in Auck­land are “heart­bro­ken” be­cause their res­cue he­li­copter base is to be shifted to a new lo­ca­tion, this ap­par­ently in­volv­ing an ex­tra 20-minute flight time from some parts of the city to the hos­pi­tal. How about the res­i­dents of the Coro­man­del Penin­sula who will com­pletely lose their he­li­copter based in Whi­tianga, and which will in­volve an ex­tra 40-minute flight time to hos­pi­tal. This makes a joke of the “golden hour” of crit­i­cal care. It’s the same story for Taupo, Te Anau and Ro­torua. They’ll be los­ing their chop­pers too.

Our base in Whi­tianga is to­tally funded by res­i­dents at no cost to the tax­payer. The lack of an ad­e­quate and timely res­cue ser­vice will have a huge eco­nomic im­pact on in­vest­ment, tourism and busi­ness in the Coro­man­del, not to men­tion the ex­tra fa­tal­i­ties that will re­sult from the long de­lays to reach crit­i­cal care. John Hen­son; Whi­tianga

Signs not liked

Re­cent storm dam­age has meant some fine old trees have had to be re­moved from Corn­wall Park. This is al­ways a shame but it does mean room is made for re­gen­er­a­tion. How­ever, I see hideous large sign­boards have pro­lif­er­ated, with Face­book-type mes­sag­ing say­ing, “Peo­ple who like this (tree, stone wall, and so on) will also like . . .”. Now, I en­cour­age the trust board to put out pam­phlets with this type of mes­sag­ing. Peo­ple in a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment do not need to be con­fronted with big, ugly signs telling them what to look at. Gavin Kay, Re­muera.

Air­port trans­fer

Your cor­re­spon­dent Sue Whale could eas­ily have caught a train from New­mar­ket to Pa­p­a­toe­toe (22 min­utes) and then the 380 Air­port Bus (20 min­utes) to the air­port, 42 min­utes to­tal. The bus stop is right next to the train sta­tion and there’s a ramp so you can wheel your bag.

I can’t un­der­stand why no one is sug­gest­ing adding a short length of heavy rail track to link Pa­p­a­toe­toe train sta­tion to the air­port. This would al­low pas­sen­gers to get to the air­port di­rectly from Brit­o­mart and it could also be used by freight trains to trans­port goods. Pas­sen­gers from West Auck­land can change to the South­ern Line at New­mar­ket. Why put trams along con­gested Do­min­ion Rd? It’s crazy. Jac­qui Ross, Massey.

Im­mu­nity shadow

The am­bas­sador and head of the Euro­pean Union del­e­ga­tion needs to show lead­er­ship by di­rectly set­tling the $20,000 Wellington rental ar­rears dis­pute. The con­duct and suit­abil­ity of the se­nior em­ployee in ques­tion should be dealt with as a sep­a­rate mat­ter. Page 1 of any diplo­macy man­ual will re­fer to the ex­em­plary high stan­dards of pro­fes­sional con­duct ex­pected from em­ploy­ees within the diplo­matic ser­vice. To hide be­hind the dra­co­nian con­cept of diplo­matic im­mu­nity un­fairly brings the en­tire diplo­matic ser­vice into dis­re­pute. Bruce Eliott, St He­liers.

No bor­der

In ad­dress­ing the on­go­ing clashes be­tween Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans, some have writ­ten of “Is­rael’s right to de­fend its bor­ders”. Just as there were no bor­ders when whites and blacks clashed in Apartheid South Africa, there are no bor­ders be­tween Pales­tini­ans and Jews in Is­rael. If there were they would de­note the very thing Is­rael’s PM has de­clared will never hap­pen — a two-state so­lu­tion.

Th­ese in­ci­dents are along the fenced and pa­trolled buf­fer zones that de­fine the en­claves into which the Pales­tini­ans have been pushed, a sit­u­a­tion which has no more strik­ing par­al­lel than that of the cruel op­pres­sion of the Jews them­selves through­out history. And now Is­rael, as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Jewish tri­umph over those long cen­turies of per­se­cu­tion, has it­self be­come, as Ni­et­zsche warned, the mon­ster it would de­feat. M. Evans, Ta­maki.

Recog­nise Pales­tine

New Zealand says it sup­ports a two-state so­lu­tion in the Is­rael-Pales­tinian re­gion but its deeds show other­wise. Since Pales­tine de­clared state­hood back in 1988, most of the world’s coun­tries (136 out of 194) recog­nise that state. How­ever, New Zealand is one of the mi­nor­ity that does not, while at the same time recog­nis­ing Is­rael. If New Zealand is to be a true sup­porter of a two-state so­lu­tion, it should get in line with most of the world, and recog­nise both coun­tries’ ex­is­tence. Jeremy Hall, Hau­raki.

Is­rael jus­ti­fied

I wish to ex­press my con­cern at the un­bal­anced re­port­ing of Gaza/Is­rael bor­der clashes and the US em­bassy move to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Is­rael’s his­toric cap­i­tal. It is per­fectly rea­son­able they wish this to be a con­sular cen­tre. Ha­mas and the PLO bit­terly op­pose this as their claim is not only Jerusalem for them­selves, but in­deed the whole land of Is­rael for them­selves as openly de­clared, most ex­plic­itly on Arab lan­guage broad­casts.

Jacinda Ardern has ex­pressed con­cern at the dis­pro­por­tion­ate deaths and in­juries in this lat­est clash and called for a re­turn to pre-1967 bor­ders, im­ple­ment­ing a two-state so­lu­tion. Does she im­ply that a greater death and in­jury count on the Is­raeli side would be less un­ac­cept­able. Who’s side sought to storm the bor­der and make in­cur­sion in­tent on vi­o­lence. The Is­raeli’s gave due warn­ing such a move would be re­sisted. Peter Matthews, Brookby.

Why night sky is dark

In re­sponse to Rod Matthews, for the night sky to be com­pletely il­lu­mi­nated, Stephen Hawk­ing ex­plained, it would re­quire the uni­verse to be in­fi­nite and static. New­ton’s laws showed a static uni­verse is not pos­si­ble, but it was not known un­til 1929 that the uni­verse is ac­tu­ally ex­pand­ing. All gal­ax­ies are speed­ing away from one an­other at an ac­cel­er­at­ing rate, as found by Ed­win Hubble on dis­cov­er­ing the “red shift” of light from the gal­ax­ies.

Hein­rich Ol­bert ar­gued in 1823 against the con­cept of an in­fi­nite static uni­verse brightly light­ing our night sky by point­ing out that light from dis­tant stars would be dimmed by in­ter­ven­ing mat­ter. We know this to be true. Also, the gal­ax­ies be­yond our own Milky Way are so dis­tant that their light is only a tiny frac­tion of all light reach­ing Earth. As for the starlight which does reach us, most of it is from the bil­lions of stars in the Milky Way. How­ever, as we see the gal­axy “edge-on”, it fol­lows that many of its stars must block light from other stars in the gal­axy, pre­vent­ing it from reach­ing us di­rectly. John Hampson, Pa­p­a­toe­toe.

Blues need Auck­lan­ders

Gre­gor Paul’s ar­ti­cle on Car­los Spencer go­ing to the Hur­ri­canes hit the nail on the head. Can­ter­bury and the Cru­saders play it right with their rugby cul­ture. Auck­land should be the great­est pro­vin­cial team in the world. In­stead it is a dys­func­tional laugh­ing stock. It had an ex-mayor of Hamil­ton as its CEO and a pri­vate eq­uity in­vestor who has the most power in the fran­chise, and it is go­ing to hell in a hand­cart. The three unions or NZ Rugby should buy out the in­vestor, put an Auck­land rugby per­son such as David Kirk in as CEO, ap­point an Auck­land rugby great like Buck [Shelford] or Zin­zan [Brooke] as the coach and watch out. The Blues and Auck­land would be back. Frank Ed­wards, Rus­sell.

Top-shelf tourism

I have just re­turned from Bhutan, a beau­ti­ful coun­try, with a fo­cus on low­im­pact high-value tourism. Back­pack­ers are not al­lowed, tourists have to be ac­com­pa­nied by a guide, and there is also a US$65 ($93) per day tourist levy, which goes to im­prove health, ed­u­ca­tion and road­ing. I did not hear a sin­gle com­plaint about pay­ing this levy. Tourists are able to ap­pre­ci­ate the coun­try, with­out be­ing crushed by hoards of peo­ple. In New Zealand we are told tourist num­bers are set to rise to more than 4 mil­lion by 2025.

Our beau­ti­ful scenery and at­trac­tions are al­ready over­loaded. The re­sult­ing dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment can­not con­tinue with­out a price to pay. Paul Chafer, Taka­puna.

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